An innovative approach to boosting the number of frontline Police has seen 20 new officers graduate from one of the uncommon training wings in Auckland.
Police Minister Stuart Nash says the graduation of 20 constables today means that 1,765 new Police officers have been deployed since the coalition government took office.
"The new constables graduating today from recruit wing 331-5 are just the fourth cohort trained in Auckland as part of our efforts to strive for 1800 new Police," says Mr Nash.
"Our historic Auckland training wings started in September last year. They offer the first opportunity in more than 45 years for recruits to train in our largest city. Recruits last went through Auckland-based training during 1973-74.
"The 19-week Auckland wings offer a family-friendly alternative to the 16-week residential course at the Royal New Zealand Police College near Porirua. Recruits can return to their own homes at the end of the day, after study and training at the Unitec Mt Albert campus and other specialist sites.
"Many aspiring Police officers, especially those with young children, say it's hard on their families to be away for 16 weeks at a stretch. We want our Police workforce to reflect the demographics of the communities they serve. These officers will all be deployed to the wider Tamaki Makaurau policing area.
"The 20 new Police graduating today enhance efforts to increase the diversity of the Police workforce. Fifteen per cent are Maori, 10 per cent Pasifika, and 15 per cent are Asian. Half of the constables are born overseas, with six foreign languages between them.
"Today's new constables have a tough job ahead of them. Crime prevention and community safety requires Police to be prepared for a wide range of demands. Everyday policing sees Police called to 200 incidents a month where firearms are involved.
"In the year to September they responded to 128,000 family harm incidents, an increase of 19 per cent on the previous year. Mental health callouts are up by more than six percent, to 33,000 annually. Road policing and efforts to dismantle organised crime and the meth trade are also a priority for the new officers.
"We will continue to invest in recruiting and training Police. We are committed to improving the wellbeing of New Zealanders and keeping our communities safe," says Mr Nash.
Mr Nash also thanked the patron of Wing 331-5, the Chief Coroner Judge Deborah Marshall, for her support, mentoring and advice to the new officers.